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The Garcia Scene On Criminal Minds That Went Too Far

Every team needs someone who is working on the back end, even the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). As "Criminal Minds" often demonstrates, profiling criminals and pounding the pavement to solve cases is only part of the work. There needs to be someone cross-referencing databases, hacking into emails, and providing some much-needed background information on all the players in any given investigation. Hence, the team's continued reliance on affable and fashionable computer whiz Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness).

Garcia's backstory gets fleshed out quite a bit in the Season 9 episode titled "The Black Queen." A flashback reveals that before she was a chipper tech liaison for the FBI, Garcia was an underground hacker known as, you guessed it, The Black Queen. She first joined the squad after she was caught red-handed hacking into a major cosmetics company. After being threatened with jail time, she was given the choice to instead use her considerable skills to help the BAU. She chose the latter and gave up her old life in the process. But as anyone who has ever watched any kind of crime procedural knows, the past never stays in the past.

"The Black Queen" also sees Garcia reckoning with a person from her old hacker days in a scene that unfortunately misses the mark.

The Garcia moment that went from empowering to awkward

The present-day action of "The Black Queen" sees Garcia forced to reunite with her former hacking mentor and boyfriend Shane Wyeth (Paulo Costanzo) in order to solve the case of the week. The scene in which Garcia comes face to face with Shane begins on a badass note, with our heroine shutting down the aisle of the hacker garage Shane works out of having just killed all of his computers and set his speakers to play "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child. However, after that moment of triumph, the scene takes a weird left turn.

Shane smiles and claps when Garcia comes in, but he starts their first conversation in years with, "Wow, you ... you've lost weight." Of course, the show is trying to set Shane up as the bad guy in this situation, but the comment doesn't feel like a natural line of dialogue. Instead of appropriately setting the stakes for the scene, it comes across as unearned and unnecessarily meanspirited.

The situation hits another bum note when Shane asks Garcia to prove that she doesn't miss him. Garcia, decked out in her goth apparel and affecting a chilly attitude, responds by turning to one of Shane's underlings and announcing, "Hi. I'm going to kiss you."

The two make out in what was clearly supposed to be a display of power on Garcia's part. However, like Shane's previous comment, it feels more awkward than anything. We're all for Garcia sticking it to a guy from her past who was obviously a jerk to her, but her impromptu makeout session just feels like she's still playing by Shane's rules rather than making her own. It's a scene that should have been triumphant but instead feels like they pushed things too far.